The Life Poem: Other Poet’s Poetics
5:30 – 7:30 pm PDT on zoom
This is an ongoing drop-in poetry discussion group.
Each week, we’ll focus on a different book of poetry, considering what makes this poet’s (or group of poets) work tick.
Tuesday, May 16: Black Mountain Poems (an anthology of Black Mountain poets, 1933-1956, published 2019)
Monday, May 22: W. S. Merwin, The Lice (1967)
Wednesday, June 7: Etel Adnan, Sea and Fog (2012)
Monday, June 12: Saeed Jones, Alive at the End of the World (2022)
Tuesday, July 18: Lia Purpura, All the Fierce Tethers (lyric essay, 2019)
Tuesday, Aug 8: Victoria Chang, The Trees Witness Everything (2021)
Monday, Aug 14: Solmaz Sharif, Customs (2022)
Wednesday, Aug 23: Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Borealis (lyric essay, 2021)
Monday, Aug 28: Jorie Graham, To 2040 (2023)
In the last Life Poem class, we came up with this set of criteria as one way to consider what constitutes a poetics:
- Question (What is the poet’s central question throughout their work?)
- Ear (To what music(s) does the poet gravitate? What versions of silence does the poet love most?)
- Line (How does the poet shape poetic lines?)
- Image (How does the poet make poetic images?)
- Lineage (Who has influenced the poet? Who is in the poet’s poetic family tree?)
- Ethics (What does the poet think is a poet’s cultural role/responsibilities?)
- Audience (To or for whom is the poet writing?)
We’ll ask these questions and find more questions as a way to continue to build our own life poems.
Whether you consider yourself a poet or not, this is good, deep work. It’ll change how you think and see the world.
No experience with poetry is required.
I’ve decided to focus each class on one book rather than picking individual poems to consider. This seems fairer to the poet and it gives us all the opportunity to cozy up with a real book, hurray. If buying the book poses financial challenges for you, let me know. Used copies of most of these books are available.
I’ll also provide supplemental readings and media (essays, interviews, videos, related poems) as well as a summary of what I see as some key features of the poet’s poetics and some additional ideas to consider before class. I’ll send these things roughly two weeks before the class to everyone who has signed up.
We’ll do a little bit of very informal in-class writing but this won’t be a workshop. You need not be a poet to enjoy this class.
Please register for the class or classes you wish to attend now as this will allow me to plan.
Sliding scale, $18-180 per class, suggested donation $36 per class — pay what makes sense for your financial circumstances. Thank you. If you have questions about this pricing, be in touch!
Or mail me a check, be in touch for my address.